Job, son of Bashir

STORIES OF THE PROPHETS (قـصـص الأنـبـيــاء)

(Aleyhis Salam – peace be upon him)

Who was he?

  • His name was Ayyub bin Bashir. His father was one who believed in Abraham when he was cast into the fire. His mother was a daughter of Lut. He is from Horan, Syria and died at the age of 92
  • He was favored with much wealth of all kinds; beasts, slaves, sheep, vast lands and many children. All those favors were taken from him and he was physically afflicted as well
  • A descendant of Abraham. That was Our proof which We gave Abraham against his people. We raise whom We will in degrees. Certainly your Lord is All-Wise, All Knowing. And We bestowed upon him Isaac and Jacob, each of them We guided and before him, We guided Noah, and among his progeny David, Solomon, Job (Ayyub), Joseph, Moses, and Aaron. Thus do We reward the good doers. [Al-An’am 6:83-84]

Allah’s Praises of Ayyub

  • Ayyub was repentant, remembering Allah with thankfulness, patience, and steadfastness. This was the cause of his rescue and the secret of Allah’s praising him. “Truly! We found him patient. How excellent a slave! Verily, he was ever oft returning in repentance to Us!” [Sad 38:44]
  • Angels’ discussion: They are talking about the best human creatures. Those who were humble earned Allah’s pleasure and those who were arrogant incurred His displeasure. One of the angels remarked: “The best creature on earth today is Ayyub.” He has a noble character who displays great patience and always remembers his Lord. He is an excellent model for the worshippers of Allah. In return, his Lord has blessed him with a long life and plenty of servants, the needy and the poor share in his good fortune; he feeds and clothes the poor and buys slaves to set them free

Iblis’ Jealousy of Ayyub

  • Iblis overhearing all of these, became annoyed. He planned to tempt Ayyub to corruption and disbelief, so he hastened to him. He tried to distract Ayyub from his prayers by whispering him about the good things in life but Ayyub was a true believer and would not let evil thoughts tempt him. This disturbed Iblis even more; thus he began to hate Ayyub even more
  • Iblis complained to Allah about Ayyub. He said that although he was continuously glorifying Allah he was not doing so out of his sincerity but to satisfy Allah so that his wealth should not be taken away, that it was all a show, all out of greed. “If You remove his wealth then You will find that his tongue will no longer mention Your name and his praying will stop.”

Allah’s reply to Iblis

  • That Ayyub was one of His most sincere devotees. He did not worship Him because of the favors. His worship stemmed from his heart and had nothing to do with material things
  • But to prove to Iblis the depth of Ayyub’s sincerity and patience, Allah allowed him to do whatever he and his helpers wished with Ayyub’s wealth and Iblis was very happy

Iblis destroys Ayyub’s wealth

  • He gathered his helpers and set about destroying Ayyub’s cattle, servants and farms until he was left with no possessions. Rubbing his hands in glee, Iblis appeared before Ayyub in the guise of a wise old man and said to him: “All your wealth is lost, some people say that it is because you gave too much charity and that you are wasting your time with your continuous prayers to Allah. Others say that Allah has brought this upon you in order to please your enemies. If Allah had the capacity to prevent harm, then He would have protected your wealth.”
  • Ayyub said: “What Allah has taken away from me belongs to Him. I was only its trustee for awhile. He gives to whom He wills and withholds from whom He wills.” With these words, Ayyub again prostrated to his Lord

Iblis destroys Ayyub’s children

  • When Iblis saw this, he felt frustrated, so he again addressed Allah: “I have stripped Ayyub of all his possessions, but he still remains grateful to You. However he is only hiding his disappointment, for he places great store by his many children. The real test of a parent is through his children. You will see how Ayyub will reject You.” Allah granted Iblis authority but warned him that it would not reduce Ayyub‘s faith in His Lord nor his patience.
  • Iblis again gathered his helpers and set about his evil deeds. He shook the house in which Ayyub’s children were living and sent it crashing, killing all of them. Then he went to Ayyub disguised as a man who had come to sympathize with him. In a comforting tone he said to Ayyub: “The circumstances under which your children died were sad. Surely, your Lord is not rewarding you properly for all your prayers.” Having said this, Iblis waited anxiously hoping Ayyub was now ready to reject Allah
  • But again Ayyub disappointed him by replying: “Allah sometimes gives and sometimes takes. He is sometimes pleased and sometimes displeased with our deeds. Whether a thing is beneficial or harmful to me, I will remain firm in my belief and remain thankful to my Creator.” Then Ayyub prostrated to his Lord, at this Iblis was extremely vexed.

Iblis destroys Ayyub’s health

  • Iblis called on Allah. “O my Lord, Ayyub’s wealth is gone, his children are dead, and he is still healthy in body, and as long as he enjoys good health he will continue to worship You in the hope of regaining his wealth and producing more children. Grant me authority over his body so that I may weaken it. He will surely neglect worshiping You and will thus become disobedient.”
  • Allah wanted to teach Iblis a lesson: That Ayyub was a devoted servant of his Lord so He granted Iblis his 3rd request but placed a condition: “I give you authority over his body but not over his soul, intellect or heart, for in these places reside the knowledge of Me and My religion.”
  • Armed with this new authority, Iblis began to take revenge on Ayyub’s body and filled it with disease until it was reduced to mere skin and bone and he suffered severe pain. But through all the suffering Ayyub remained strong in his faith, patiently bearing all the hardships without complaining

His heart and tongue remain sound

  • Never a single organ was sound except his heart and tongue, both of which he glorified Allah all the time day and night.
  • His disease lasted for a long time until his visitors felt disgusted with him. Relatives and close friends kept away from him and people abstained from visiting him.
  • Wife supported him: No one felt sympathy for him except his wife. She took good care of him, knowing his former charity and pity for her. In his hour of need, she showered her kindness on him and cared for him. She remained his sole companion and comforter through the many years of suffering. He did not despair or turn to others for help but remained hopeful of Allah’s mercy.

Iblis approached his wife

  • Therefore Iblis became desperate. He consulted his helpers, but they could not advise him. They asked: “How is it that your cleverness cannot work against Ayyub, yet you succeeded in misleading Adam the father of man, out of Paradise?”
  • Iblis went to Ayyub’s wife in the form of a man. “Where is your husband?” he asked her. She pointed to an almost lifeless form crumbled on the bed and said: “There he is, suspended between life and death.” Iblis reminded her of the days, when Ayyub had good health, wealth and children. Suddenly, the painful memory of years of hardship overcame her, and she burst into tears
  • His wife complained: She said to Ayyub: “How long are you going to bear this torture from our Lord? Are we to remain without wealth, children or friends forever? Why don’t you call upon Allah to remove this suffering?”

Ayyub’s reaction

  • Ayyub sighed, and in a soft voice replied: “Iblis must have whispered to you and made you dissatisfied. Tell me how long did I enjoy good health and riches?” She replied: “Eighty years.” Then Ayyub replied: “How long am I suffering like this?” She said: “Seven years.”
  • Ayyub then told her: “In that case I am ashamed to call on my Lord to remove the hardship, for I have not suffered longer than the years of good health and plenty. It seems your faith has weakened and you are dissatisfied with the fate of Allah. If I ever regain health, I swear I will punish you with a hundred strokes! From this day onward, I forbid myself to eat or drink anything by your hand. Leave me alone and let my Lord do with me as He pleases.“
  • Crying bitterly and with a heavy heart, she had no choice but to leave him and seek shelter elsewhere.

Ayyub’s health is restored

  • In this helpless sate, Ayyub turned to Allah, not to complain but to seek His mercy
  • “Verily! Distress has seized me and You are the Most Merciful of all those who show mercy.” So We answered his call, and We removed the distress that was on him, and We restored his family to him (that he had lost), and the like thereof along with them as a mercy from Ourselves and a Reminder for all who worship Us.” (21:83-84)
  • “Remember Our slave Ayyub, when he invoked His Lord saying: “Verily! Satan has touched me with distress (by losing my health) and torment (by losing my wealth)!” Allah said to him: “Strike the ground with your foot: This is a spring of water to wash in and cool and a refreshing drink.” And We gave him back his family, and along with them the like thereof as a Mercy from Us, and a reminder for those who understand.” (38:41-43)
  • Ayyub obeyed and almost immediately his good health was restored. “Truly! We found him patient. How excellent a slave! Verily, he was ever oft returning in repentance to Us!” (38:44)

His wife returned

  • Meanwhile, his faithful wife could no longer bear to be parted from her husband. She returned to him. She begged his forgiveness. She desires to serve him. On entering her house, she was amazed at the sudden change. Ayyub was again healthy! She embraced him and thanked Allah for His mercy.
  • Ayyub fulfilled his oath: Ayyub had taken an oath to punish her with a hundred strokes if he had regained health but he had no desire to hurt her. He knew if he did not fulfill the oath, he would be guilty of breaking a promise to Allah. Therefore in His wisdom and mercy, Allah came to the assistance of His faithful servant and advised him. “Take in your hand a bundle of thin grass and strike therewith your wife, and break not your oath.”

[Source: Stories of the Prophets/Darussalam]

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